et al for a lot of this "coup" nonsense. When there was a real risk to the Obama campaign of his winning the pledged delegates but losing because of Superdelegate support for Clinton, Markos and DHinMI fell in love with their own "clever" spin, calling it a "coup by superdelegate" even though the DNC rules not only allowed for this, but in fact explicitly called for Superdelegates to act according to their own conscience.
They undermined the rules in their infantile and hilarious efforts to be little press flacks themselves, fancying themselves "political operatives" out there to "change the narrative". They looked pathetic doing it, and now, we all have to reap the whirlwind.
See? When you fight spin with spin, you lose. Narrative versus Narrative, we all fall down.
Some intellectual honesty early on would have helped us all.
to narrative games over substance. Predicting how people will react and feel in the future is the stupidest possible way to decide your vote and support, and it is the most self-fulfilling of all self-fulfilling predictions.
It was stupid when Senator Obama's campaign made predictions about how people just don't like Senator Clinton, or predictions about how his base would flee her, or how he could expand the party and she couldn't, about her negatives, etc., and it is stupid when we focus on irrelevancies like Wright, Ayers (seriously, that one is monumentally stupid) and Rezko.
On the Rezko issue in particular, though, Senator Obama and his supporters would have done better to not pretend like everything was fine and just admitted right off the bat that he had dealings with a scumbag and he learned from it; instead, they let the information come out in a trickle (thinking that would help). That is on Axelrod's head.
We have not behaved like a movement, but like press flacks and surrogates, and that is an embarrassment to ourselves.
and shame on those of us on the left who have given it even one breath or one moment of thought.
This is only an issue because a consolidated media apparatus has decided it was one, and it has no bearing on Senator Obama's ability to do a good job as president; I think he could (could) be a transformative President.
That's on the one hand.
On the other hand, I have little pity for him, because I have a sneaking suspicion that he joined this politically powerful South Side church for political, not spiritual, reasons, so that it has come back to haunt him causes little grief.
Still--I am a supporter of Senator Obama and it doesn't behoove us to focus on it. Narrative vs. Narrative, we all fall down.
If you don't agree with the tactic, don't feed the story--because it'll hurt your candidate next.
It isn't reasonable (not to mention, it is self-defeating) to talk about demographics as though they are locked to voting patterns. They can change, and do--not instantly and not all at once, but they do shift and sometimes in big numbers.
If we talk about issues and make our case, people can start to move. But we need to talk in clear, contrasting terms about fundamental issues--what is great about Barack is that he has the money, huge amounts of money--he can afford to say things in frank terms, without "framing" and all that.
If he talked frankly about structural economic problems that keep so many Americans in debt, dependent completely on their employer, unhealthy, and unable to retire--people will respond to that.
We should be pushing our candidate to do that, not fall back into the trap of strategic issue incrmentalism to take advantage of people's existing biases and habits.
and obligation to her supporters to stay in the race for the nomination, and I think calls for her to drop out are undemocratic and self-defeating.
But the Clinton campaign must stop this race to the bottom. Senator Obama's campaign has been guilty of engaging in meaningless, "narrative politics", essentially marketing efforts, but the Clinton supporter's recent penchant for torturing meaning from fundamentally harmless words is not good for our party.
This marketing politics is what the Republicans have used to so well since 1980, and it doesn't work for the Left. It never will, because the Right is the status quo, and so controls all the existing institutions of power and communication.
When Democrats engage in it against each other, it just legitimizes it.
Obama supporters need to stop this needless hectoring for Clinton to drop out, but Clinton supporters have a bigger charge, to stop this asinine and ultimately self-defeating "media narrative" politics that tries to make issues out of the definition of words, over the substance of thought.
Do you believe Senator Obama disdains the average Americans? If you don't believe that, then you are being intellectually dishonest when you say this will "hurt him" with the average voter, because you assume the "average voter" is dumber than you.
That is elitism.
The Left is supposed to be the side of reason--remember, "reality based community"? If we stop being intellectually honest--and both sides are guilty of this, but to differing degrees--then we can't pretend we are the "reality based community."
To borrow a phrase, we'd just be an echo, not a choice.
I disagree with your characterization of Senator Obama. Both Clinton and Obama are compromised by their relationship with organized money, and Senator Clinton appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine, telegraping that she was "safe" for business (Obama countered by speaking at the inauguration of the Hamilton Project.
But to impugn Senator Obama by pointing out his relationship to potential right-wing groups (presumably you mean via contributions to his campaign) and then ignoring Senator Clinton's own relationships--which if not just equal, are more pronounced than Senator Obama's) is disingenuous.
Look: neither candidate is perfect. Both have been politician-y; both are clearly pandering to win votes. Anybody honest will admit that, as politicians competing in the most important and most valuable political contest on the planet, they are being disingenuous a lot, they are pandering on issues to win key constituencies, they are being slick politicians. I think they are both phony to a degree.
Who actually believes that either Clinton or Obama pray to God for guidance on government policy? I don't believe it for one second. Its a put on to seem "safe" to Christian voters. Who actually believes Senator Clinton actually cares about the Rev. Wright issue? Do you think she actually think it impacts how good a President he will be? Of course not!
Do you actually believe Senator Obama when he says he wants his campaign to create organizing fellows to build a movement? Don't you think that he, like every other President in modern history, will make the Party the political arm of the White House?
Do you think "grassroots" movements can be controlled by the White House? That's like saying that your boss can be your union steward; it's ridiculous on its face!
Building a political army to power a Party behind a Presidential agenda is not giving power to the people in any meaningful way; and these will not be "bottom-up" organizations in any real, meaningful way: it will teach people how to manage the mechanics of elections, but it will not ideologically radicalize them, or even allow them any control over policy at all. How can it!? It's the President's Party.
You know who else knows how the mechanics of elections extremely well, but has no ideological radicalization? Chicago's patronage machine.
Do you think you will be able to mobilize the typical American--working class, underinsured, and heavily in debt--behind habeas corpus and FISA? Really?
Isn't it obvious by now that people will only act around an ideology focused on their self-interest?
Our job, as the supposed "reality-based" community has always been to ignore the irrelevancies the media narratives generate and push our candidates to lead on issues. Of course, that takes work and we are all too willing to play pretend.
I got news for you: neither candidate is "talking issues", and that isn't really even their fault. The corporate media, with its obsession with narrative, is calling the shots and arguing with itself, and you guys are hilariously "taking sides" in that battle.
Twenty-two percent (22%) of Democratic voters nationwide say that Hillary Clinton should drop out of the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination. However, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that an identical number--22%--say that Barack Obama should drop out.
So how about we just stop talking about the horse race? Please?
Can't we just come to a consensus understanding that polls this far out mean almost nothing, that talking about electability is essentially talking about marketing and branding and not substance?
Let's look at the challenges of our day, and I mean the big issues: Increased corporate corruption and the accrual of wealth at the top; Our confrontational, resource-obsessed foreign policy; disastrous climate change, particularly on our water supply; A political system dominated by money that encourages plutocracy; An executive branch that must devolve power to the Congress.
Let's try to analyze how the candidates fair on these issues and force them to public positions, rather than encouraging the horse race irrelevancies.
There is an eternity between now and November, and if Senator Obama were to go to MI and FL and make a direct case and talk about their issues in contrasting and strident tones, you really think they would be so obsessed with their primary vote they'd vote against him out of spite? I don't think you have evidence to support that claim--a poll is a snapshot in time, not a mathematical predictor of behaviors.
We're going to remember that when it came time for party elders to show some leadership and stand up for all Democrats, they chose not to.
Oh no. This isn't over and we won't forget.
The way the MI and FL delegates are split is really so important to you that you would hold a grudge, at the expense of party unity and moving the country leftward?
If these campaigns had focused on leading on issues--the politics of movement building--if they would have been willing to talk to the American people about the problems in the country, instead of trying to fabricate media narratives about themselves, focusing on "messaging" and arbitrary, inquantifiable "thresholds", we could just let every Democrat in America have a chance to vote, and go to the convention and let the super delegates ratify the winner.
Why not let the process play out?
Because the "fighting" is "damaging" the "party brand." This is ludicrous; Clinton acolytes and Obama acolytes have confused debating media narratives--stories about stories--with political activism and movement politics.
Partisanship without principles is no different from faith; that's a big part of the reason that the two sides have become so hardened against each other. Arguing religion does that.
Look: if you all just stopped constantly trying to fight over the meaning of motives and debating the inane stories in the media narratives, and instead had focused on demanding leadership on issues from the candidates as a condition of your support, they'd still be courting, you know, working class Americans who are both (1) being robbed of the right to health care and to bargain collectively and (2) disproportionately dying in a war.
Instead, as soon as this became a two person race, we picked sides based on nothing more than faith (admittedly so; how many times have the candidates themselves said they are nearly identical on the issues?) and then began immediately "spinning", engaging in arguments over irrelevancies, like the implication of somebody's fundraising statistics, the potential motives of untold millions of voters, and what constitutes a "gaffe".
One day, we pretend a poll eight months before the election, without a nominee decided yet, means something about "electability." The next day, we dismiss that because it doesn't favor our candidate.
One day, we shrug off Senator Obama's relationship to Rev. Wright (rightfully), but then the next day--we pull out diaries "proving" Senator Clinton has "ties" to some preacher or another: so which is it? We shrug it off? Or we "use it"? One day, the phrase "fairy tale" is refashioned as a racist slur (do you all remember what a racial really sounds like?), the next day the word "claws" becomes dog-whistle sexism.
Back-and-forth, narrative versus narrative.
That's not movement building. That's consumerism in the political arena.